school funding

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers are considering a new education funding plan that school districts are both praising and criticizing. The proposal shifts money between districts to reduce funding disparities. It also moves some money from another fund to make sure no district loses overall state support. Shawnee Mission School District Superintendent Jim Hinson appreciates that no districts would lose out.

“This bill allows us to have stability during very uncertain financial times, which is extremely important for us,” Hinson says.

Stephen Koranda

Committees in the Kansas House and Senate have advanced school funding plans designed to address a state Supreme Court order. The court told lawmakers to fix unconstitutional funding disparities between districts, or public schools would be closed this fall.

These new proposals redistribute funding and add a small amount of money to make sure no district loses overall state support.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers have introduced a new school funding plan that tries to fund school districts more evenly without costing any of them money. Previous plans had redistributed money and left some districts with less overall funding.

Lawmakers are trying to find a way to reduce disparities between school districts following a Kansas Supreme Court ruling. The bill would redistribute state funding and tap an existing extraordinary needs fund. Republican Senator Ty Masterson says stakeholders made it clear that no district should lose money.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Budget cuts are looming at Wichita Public Schools with the board soon making recommendations for the next fiscal year. The district is facing an estimated $16 to 30 million cost increase.

Stephen Koranda

Two Republican lawmakers are suggesting that the Kansas Legislature turn the job of determining how state aid to public schools is distributed over to the State Board of Education.

Reps. Gene Suellentrop of Wichita and Marvin Kleeb of Overland Park raised the idea during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on a school funding plan from the panel's chairman.

The 10-member board would then face the burden of making sure the money is distributed fairly.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers will start work this week on a response to a school funding ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court. The decision says there are disparities between school districts and if they aren't fixed by this summer the court could close Kansas schools.

There are plans in both the House and Senate to comply with the ruling, but as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the proposals could cost some districts money.

J. Stephen Conn / flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas Senate committee has advanced a bill that would expand the grounds for impeaching a state Supreme Court justice.

The bill says justices could be impeached for trying to exercise powers given to the governor or Legislature. Republican Sen. Forrest Knox says checks and balances in government are important.

"We have arrived at a point today in this country, in this state, where specifically Supreme Court justices have become kings, where there is no check," Knox says.

Jim McClean / Heartland Health Monitor

The chairman of a Senate committee abruptly canceled a hearing today on a bill that would have changed the agency responsible for distributing school funding.

The bill would have moved the authority to distribute education money from the Department of Education to the Department of Administration, which is one of the governor’s cabinet agencies.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers are continuing work on a bill that would allow the state to deny financial assistance for some school district building projects. The legislation says a state panel should review school district construction projects and only award state aid for buildings directly related to student instruction.

The latest proposal would deny Kansas tax dollars for athletic facilities. Republican Rep. Ron Highland offered the plan. He says if a school district wants an Olympic swimming pool, local taxpayers should pay for it.

Christopher Sessums / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers have approved a budget bill that balances on paper. But as Jim McLean reports from the Statehouse, it doesn’t yet include the money the Kansas Supreme Court says needs to be added for public schools.

The budget bill on its way to Gov. Sam Brownback uses a variety of transfers and accounting maneuvers to cover anticipated spending for the rest of the current budget year and the next one, which starts on July 1.

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